EDITORIAL LETTERS

Myths About Affirmative Action Regarding the opinion-page article ''Affirmative Action Myths,'' Sept. 11: The author's argument is a smokescreen. He fails to support the claim that institutional racism has miraculously ceased to be a barrier to employment. The crux of the matter is that 95 percent of all senior corporate management positions are occupied by white males. White males occupy nine-tenths of the Senate and 80 percent of Congress. Thus in a nation where black women earn 70 cents to the dollar of white men this is hardly documentary evidence that another embattled minority has emerged. With these statistics in mind, it is ironic that the majority of the professions that the author cites as ''overrepresented'' by minorities are the least respected and the lowest paid. That this evidence is blithely ignored in the hue and cry over affirmative action is, contrary to the author's assertions, the truly egregious silence in this debate. Sikivu Hutchinson Brooklyn, N.Y. PBS's educational mission I read with interest the letter ''Cable in Today's Classrooms Readies Students For Tomorrow,'' Aug. 25. While I do not dispute any of the writer's points, a recent survey commissioned by Cable in the Classroom indicates the service teachers use most is PBS. Distance learning, teleconferences, and state networks have been used by PBS stations for years, not just since a cable company had to win a local franchise. PBS also extends the educational rights for many of its programs and provides significant off-air recording rights to schools. Viewers of many PBS stations can get their GED (and in some cases their college degree) simply by watching at home. While cable operators may come and go, PBS stations have served their local communities for more than 40 years. PBS offers educational programs for everyone, not just those with a cable box. Phil Meyer Cincinnati Director of Public Information WCET-TV Flight delays, budget squabbles The article ''Archaic Air-Traffic Control Causes Costly Flight Delays,'' Sept. 15, is deeply appreciated. Air-traffic controllers are the thread that holds the system together. Their dedication to passenger safety results in the ''costly flight delays'' that frustrate everyone when archaic air-traffic control equipment fails. It's archaic for at least two reasons. First, though passengers and pilots pay plenty for equipment upgrades through ticket and fuel taxes into the Aviation Trust Fund, much of this remains unavailable because it is ''on budget.'' Second, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is subject to annual federal budget deliberations, making long-term planing problematic. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association, FAA management, and pilots are working to solve these two problems by lobbying Congress to take the Aviation Trust Fund ''off budget'' and remove the FAA from annual budget squabbles. Mark Stafford Concord, Calif. Air Traffic Control Specialist Albania's calm atmosphere As a longtime observer of Albania, I would like to make a few comments on the article ''Ethnic Shock Waves Crash at Albania's Border,'' Aug. 22. The author is right to point out the volatility of the situation of Albanian minorities in three countries bordering Albania: the former Yugoslavia, the former Republic of Macedonia in Yugoslavia, and Greece. However, it is a forecast inviting self-fulfillment to call Albania ''a powderkeg of ethnic tension.'' The population of Albania itself is remarkably homogenous and its small minorities present very little threat. Although Albania does face the problems the author writes about, its populace is nonetheless extraordinarily calm considering the suffering of Albanians in surrounding countries. Antonia Young Hamilton, N.Y. Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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